Quartet of Future Gauchos Lead LA Galaxy to US Soccer Academy Playoffs
WESTFIELD, Ind. – Fresh off a 2013-14 season that saw the LA Galaxy U17/18 Academy Team score the most goals and register the best record of any team in the USSF Southwest Division, four incoming members of the UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team are starring for the Carson, Calif. based club in this week's US Soccer Academy Playoffs, featuring the top development academy teams from around North America.
Forward Adonis Amaya, midfielders Ryo Fujii and Axel Mendez, and defender Jeff Quezada were all key contributors for the Galaxy over the regular season and have continued to be relied upon through the start of the Academy Playoffs.
Similar in format to the ongoing 2014 FIFA World Cup, the Academy Playoffs consist of a round-robin group stage, with the winners of each eight groups hosting a quarterfinal match against the second-place teams in their respective groups on Jul. 7 or 9. The winners of the quarterfinal matches will then meet next month for Finals Week at the StubHub Center in Carson.
Through the first two games of the playoffs, the Galaxy top Group B with a 2-0-0 record and a +4 goal differential.
In Monday's 1-0 win over Real Colorado, all four future Gauchos started, with Amaya scoring the lone tally of the game in the 23rd minute, his team-leading 25th goal in as many games.
Quezada and Fujii started in a 4-1 rout of Chicago Magic PSG on Tuesday, with Mendez coming on as a substitute in the 60th minute.
The Galaxy will wrap up group play tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. EDT against Montreal Impact FC. Already having clinched a spot in the next round, a win or draw against the second-place Impact will ensure them hosting privileges for the rest of the tournament.
Behind Amaya's prolific goal-scoring, the Galaxy recorded a 19-5-3 mark in the regular season to claim their third consecutive Southwest Division title. The club averaged an impressive 3.15 goals over the 2013-14 campaign.
The other three soon-to-be Gauchos played key roles as well. Mendez, a playmaking midfielder, scored seven goals in seven starts. Fujii made 27 appearances with 25 starts, adding five goals. Quezada was a rock for the Galaxy in the back, starting 24 games, scoring one goal, and serving as team captain.
UCSB has secured a healthy amount of top-level talent from the Galaxy Academy in the past, including current Gaucho stars Drew Murphy and Josh McNeely, who both won a national championship with the U16 squad in 2011.
Season tickets for the 2014 season, including exciting home games against challenging opponents UCLA, Cal Poly, Northwestern, and Cal State Northridge, are now available! Tickets start out as low as $4 with the popular Family Plan. To secure your seats today, call the UCSB ticket office at 805-893-UCSB (8272) or order online here.